The first time I had this particular dish was in 2011,when I was visiting Bangalore to meet my then boyfriend, now husband.We went to this iconic but now slightly shady pub with our friends and at the end of the night ,in search of some sustenance, ordered Chicken Ghee Roast with Aapams. Since then,I have grown weary of places with dance floors but I still brave this place , just to have the chicken ghee roast.
This chicken curry is a Mangalorean speciality, also known as Kundapur Chicken.For those who have never tasted this , let me try and put it in words ,though I am sure I won’t be able to do justice.This is a spicy, slightly tangy,rich chicken roast coated with silky red gravy ,made with unrealistic amount of ghee which gives it it’s characteristic taste.What sets this chicken apart from the rest of the curries, is that it has no onions or tomatoes and off course the copious amount of ghee!
While researching for this recipe I saw a lot of recipes which call for “Garam Masala” or curry powder, as some call it ,which is a very generic, loosely used term for Indian spice blend.Every region in India has their speciality blend which can be used ubiquitously in everyday cooking.If you want to make a curry without having a specific outcome in mind, use garam masala but if you want to make an iconic dish like this Chicken Ghee Roast or Tamil Pepper chicken, make sure you follow the real recipe and make your own spice blend with actual spices.
Tips for the Best Mangalorean Chicken Ghee Roast
First tip for any authentic Indian curry is to make sure your spices are fresh and by that I mean they shouldn’t be older than a year.When you make this chicken its essential you taste,taste and taste.If the dish feels flat to you then it most probably needs salt and lime juice.These are the two ingredients than can and will make or break this dish.
Now coming to the kind of cut of Chicken to be used.You can use chicken on the bone or boneless chicken to make this but the cooking time of the chicken will vary depending on the cut.The boneless chicken usually cooks very fast and becomes rubbery if overcooked.While cooking with and eating boneless chicken is easier, chicken with the bones and skin will make the curry richer and more flavoursome.
This chicken preparation has thick rich gravy which makes it best served with dosas, rotis or appams.But if you are like my husband and love your rice, serve this as a side with dal rice or a khichadi.
A boneless version fo this chicken ghee roast can also be served as an appetizer and is specially good for at large parties.
Serves: 4 servings
- 500 gms Chicken*
- 4 tbsp Ghee
- 10 Curry Leaves
- ½ Cup Yogurt
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- ½ tsp Red chilli powder
- ½ tsp Coriander Powder
- ½ tsp Pepper Powder
- 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- Juice of 1 lime
- 8 Garlic Cloves
- 1 inch ginger Chopped
- ½ tsp Fennel
- ½ tsp Pepper Corns
- 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 2 Cloves
- 4 Kashmiri Chillies
- 1 tbsp Dry Tamarind
- 1 tsp Jaggery
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Mix everything listed under marinade.Mix it with the Chicken and let the chicken rest for 15 minutes to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Wash and Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of water along with cinnamon powder and jaggery.
- Heat 1 tsp Ghee in a pan on medium heat.Add the Garlic,ginger.fennel,peppercorns,coriander seeds, cloves and Kashmiri chilli.
- Dry roast for 3-4 minutes till the garlic starts to char.Keep sautéing otherwise the dry small masalas might burn.
- Add the tamarind,cinnmon and jaggery along with the water to the roasted spices.Let this cook for 10-15 minutes till the spices and garlic starts to soften and the water is boiling.Remove from heat and let it cool.
- Once cool blend this into a fine paste.
- This can be done in another pan as you are preparing your masala.
- Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pan.Add the Chicken along with the marinade and juices.Cover and cook for 20 minutes till the oil separates and the marinade thickens.
- Once the chicken is fully cooked** add the masala paste.Cook on high flame for another 5-10 minutes when the oil will start to separate and the masala would become thicker and coat the chicken well.
- Add the curry leaves and mix.Take off the heat.
- Taste-Add more lime juice if required.Top it up with remaining tbsp of ghee and serve along with dosas or appams
**The nutrition tag given below is for chicken breasts.It will vary with the kind of cut you use.
Variations and Versions of Ghee Roast
The same method and recipe can be adapted to make paneer or prawn ghee roast but again the cooking time of the paneer and prawn will be very less.You use lesser yogurt marinade and just flash fry the paneer or prawn till just cooked, before adding the red masala
You can also cook baby potatoes in the same gravy.
How to Buy Chicken for curries
The age of going to a gory butcher shop is long past really.I prefer getting my chicken online.And no this isn’t a paid marketing stunt on my part but I like to live in denial.The fact that I can request any cut I want, at a time I want and without lifting a finger(figuratively obviously!) has sold me on buying my nonveg produce online- Freshtohome ,Liscious and Bigbasket are my all-time favourites, in that order. I usually order for the week-divide and freeze whatever I don’t need immediately and use as and when.
To cook chicken curries , I use chicken with the bone and skin.Dont Baulk.I use chicken with skin because it adds a lot more flavour to the curry and cause my family prefers it this way.That said,If you are on a diet, watching your fat intake(a myth that’s been debunked!) then you can ask for a skinless chicken.
Use medium sized pieces for any curry.Its debatable whether chicken should be washed or not and I will leave that upto you.